Hemmed in by police on all sides, Camellia Magness feared that the military helicopter descending on downtown Washington might unleash a final assault on protesters.
It was June 1, nearly three hours after federal police in riot gear charged largely peaceful demonstrators as they gathered near the White House to protest after the killing of George Floyd. Magness and others had lingered downtown past a 7 p.m. curfew.
Military helicopters had been flying high overhead, seeming to track their movements. But shortly before 10 p.m., a Black Hawk swept low over protesters in Chinatown and held its position, producing gusts that snapped thick tree limbs and swirled the air with volleys of dust and broken glass, sending many running for cover in panic and confusion.